A festive feast

Every family has their favourite meals to celebrate the festive season, but if you're looking for something new to add to your menu this December, here are some tasty options. We've also included some of our favourite holiday classics for the first time cook.

Bruschetta with toasted sesame tomatoes


60ml olive oil mixed with 2 crushed garlic cloves
500g baby tomatoes
Salt and black pepper
60ml sesame seeds
60ml capers
Handful of fresh basil

Turn the oven onto grill.
2. Brush bread with oil and garlic and toast until golden brown.
3. On a baking tray, season tomatoes and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Grill for 15 minutes.
4. Allow tomatoes to cool and then arrange the basil, tomatoes and capers on top of the bread slices.

Butternut and feta cheese stuffing


1 butternut, peeled, seeded, and diced
2 tsp chopped fresh sage leaves
2 tsp thyme
Olive oil
100g feta
150g bread crumbs
250ml vegetable stock
Bunch of parsley roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven 200ºC.
2. Place the butternut onto a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil until well coated.
3. Sprinkle on the sage and thyme and season. Bake for 25 minutes turning regularly.
4. Remove from the oven and mix the bread crumbs, parsley, vegetable stock and half the feta. Mix well and put into an oven proof dish. Crumble the remaining feta over the top and drizzle with olive oil.
5. Bake in the oven for a further 15-20 minutes until golden brown on top.

Seafood Curry


2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
2cm piece ginger, grated
2 tbsp mild curry paste
1 tbsp tomato puree
400g skinless, boneless white fish cut into 2cm chunks
200g green prawns, peeled, tails intact
500g fresh mussels
2 x 270ml coconut milk
60ml fish or chicken stock
1 tsp palm or castor sugar
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves, plus whole leaves to garnish
Rice or pasta, to serve
Lime wedges, to serve

Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened. Add in the garlic and ginger and cook for a few seconds.
2. Add curry paste and tomato puree, and cook, stirring, for one minute until fragrant.
3. Add seafood to the pan and coat well. Pour in the coconut milk, stock and sugar, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, and then reduce heat to low and continue cooking for a further 10 minutes until seafood is cooked through.
4. Stir in lime juice and chopped coriander. Serve with rice or pasta and garnish with coriander leaves and a lime.

Baked Cheesecake


For the base:

10 digestive biscuits
75g pecan nuts
75g soft butter

For the filling:
3 x 200g packets cream cheese (at room temperature)
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp cornflour
125ml maple syrup
4 eggs
½ tsp lemon juice

. Preheat the oven to 170ºC.
2. Put nuts and biscuits in a food processor and blitz into a crumb mixture. If you don’t have a food processor but them into a plastic bag and bash them with a rolling pin.
3. Add the soft butter and press mixture into the bottom of a springform tin to make a smooth and even base. Put into the fridge to chill.
4. Combine the cream cheese with the sugar, cornflour and maple syrup.
5. Lightly beat the eggs and then add to the cream cheese mixture. Mix until a smooth consistency. Add the lemon juice and stir in.
6. Take the springform tin out of the fridge, line the outside with a double layer of tinfoil, bringing it up around the top outer edge of the tin. This will make a waterproof layer while the cheesecake is cooked in a water bath.
7. Now place the waterproof tin in a roasting dish and pour the cream cheese filling into the tin. Pour boiled water into the roasting dish so that it surrounds the springform tin about half way up.
8. Bake the cheesecake in the oven for around an hour and 15 minutes but start checking it after an hour. It should be set on the sides but still have a slight wobble in the middle.
9. Take it out of the oven and carefully remove the tin from the water bath. Peel away the tinfoil and let it cool in the tin on a rack. Once it has cooled put it into the fridge and leave it for a couple of hours.
10. Take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature before springing it out of the tin.


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